Is Travelling Long-Term Running Away?

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When I was sat on the plane at Heathrow the December before last waiting to take-off one question kept haunting me: “Are you running away?”

I had the next nine months planned out but no return flight booked. My final destination would be Australia but after that? I wasn’t sure.

There were times I let myself get quite upset about the idea that I was running away.

The circumstances weren’t great – my mum had died the year before and my final year at uni had turned into a rather messy one. I wasn’t exactly coping brilliantly with life at this point.

I wanted to get away but I wasn’t trying to escape. I knew that wouldn’t be possible. Everything would  be there when I came back, whenever that might be, right where I’d left it.

But there were still the people who made it obvious that that’s all they thought I was trying to do by going travelling. Run.

In fact, my journey towards travelling the world had been a slightly less dramatic one than me simply waking up one day and deciding I couldn’t do this anymore so see y’all whenevs kinda thing.

Ever since I was young I’d loved travel, been excited at the thought of going somewhere new and exotic.

For a while I had seriously considered taking a gap year after my A Levels. I’d signed up to all the right websites and spent hours thumbing through glossy brochures. In the end I came to the conclusion that if I still had the travel bug once I graduated I’d save up and go.

As uni progressed I changed my mind, deciding that instead I wanted to stay in London, find a flat share and break into journalism. It was during my above mentioned messy third year that I realised just how much I wanted to travel. I’d just been pretending that I hadn’t.

A conversation with a friend in the summer of 2014 made all the difference. We realised that we both wanted to go travelling, were both serious about actually going through with it, the timing was right, we had each saved up enough but neither of us were quite convinced about doing it solo.

It was then that travelling for an extended period of time became a very real possibility. What was stopping us?

So we went into our local branch of STA. By the time we came out our bank accounts were a fair bit emptier, all our flights had been booked and we had massive grins on our faces.

We weren’t running, we just weren’t ready to settle down into office jobs and compete with other commuters twice a day. We were leaving to explore new places, meet new people and learn new things about ourselves and the world.

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7 thoughts on “Is Travelling Long-Term Running Away?

  1. Great post. It’s hard to make it not look like you’re running away even if you haven’t been through what you have which is such a shame! I suppose it could be seen as running away in one way but fuck it, who wants to settle down into real life straight away anyway! 🙂

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    • Thank you! It’s so nice to know you enjoyed the post 🙂 if anything, I’d say that going travelling for nearly a year was a good thing, it made me a stronger person so when I came back I was ready to take on whatever life had to throw at me. Jx

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  2. Cool post, travelling for long periods definitely isn’t running away (whatever the circumstances) it’s living 🙂

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  3. I have not long returned from 14 months travelling. Like you, I didn’t have a return ticket and at first I didn’t even plan to be away for that long.
    Yes. I was running away and no, I don’t mind admitting that. 2013 was horrible for me in different ways to you. The pinnacle event being my boyfriend of nearly 6 years breaking up with my just after Christmas then shacking up with the woman he “had no interest in” (LOL!)
    I had enough so decided it was time I left. I decided this in February and booked my adventure to start in November. So yes, it was technically running away from all the rubbish life had chucked at me and starting fresh. Shedding my skin so to speak.
    like you though, I had wanted to travel since an extremely young age and Australia was the first country that drew my attention so it seemed right that that would be where I spent the bulk of my trip.
    I think it is silly to judge anyone for travelling and would even go as far to say that those name-callers are just jealous. If you get the opportunity to travel then take it.

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    • I’m sorry to hear about what happened with your boyfriend. I don’t blame you for wanting to get away for a while! I’d agree – if you have the opportunity to travel grab it whilst you can! Jx

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  4. Great post, I enjoyed reading it. I think it can be running away sometimes when bad things are happening and you use it as an escape, but on the upside it does give you that away time to heal and that’s a very good thing and can lead to great things. You see things clearer when you return – well that’s what happened to me and it led me on a new path. But not all long term travel is running away – long term travel is a lifestyle for many people – me included. I’ve found people who judge you and assume it’s running away everytime feel that they can’t do it themselves and are jealous but in many cases they just don’t prioritise travel. I prioritise travel above everything else – which means I don’t own much – but it means I have the ability to live my dreams and travel long term. Everyone experiences life differently and I choose to travel rather than own a house.

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